Bahamas and Cuba agree on maritime border

CubaStandard.com:

Cuba and Bahamas agreed “in principle” on a maritime boundary, the Nassau Guardian reported, citing Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette.

Symonette said at a news conference that the boundary was finally established after a long 15-year dispute. He added that the countries, assisted by the United Nations, maintained an amicable and diplomatic relationship throughout the process.

The agreements come after four rounds of negotiations between the neighbors since 2005. A resolution became pressing as Norway’s Statoil is seeking to perform exploratory drills adjacent to the Bahamian side of the border. On the other side, Russia’s Zarubezhneft and Petrovietnam have leased onshore and nearshore blocks in east-central Cuba, also near the maritime border.

The Bahamian government announced a drilling moratorium following the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year and is in the process of developing a disaster management policy. The Bahamas Petroleum Company — Statoil’s local partner — is optimistic drilling will begin in 2012.

A spill at the Statoil location could affect Cuban tourism ambitions in the Cayo Coco area. The Bahamas and Cuba have apparently not had talks about drilling safety and disaster response.

“The Bahamas should approach Cuba on this subject if it has not already done so,” a recent editorial of Bahamas newspaper Freeport News suggested. “The two countries should at least discuss the environmental consequences of drilling, the regulatory framework each should put in place regarding drilling and what response would occur if a disaster occurs. The Bahamas could even be a go-between between the U.S. and Cuba on the issue.”

www.cubaluxuryrent.com

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